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CV for software developer - should I "hide"/play down 10 years of teaching?

(11 Posts)
DitheringDiva Tue 26-Apr-16 10:48:50

A bit of back info: I have a science Ph.D., with a heavy computer programming element. At the same time as I had my first child, I went into teaching (it seemed like a good idea at the time!), and did it (sometimes part-time) for 10 years (including 2 years abroad). The trouble is, I don't like the actual 'teaching the lessons' bit of teaching!
I decided to take a career break, since I wasn't enjoying it, workloads were really impacting on family life and DH was working abroad a lot. I've been at home now for 3 years, and every spare minute I get, all I ever do is programming - I've taught myself Java, Swift, XML, HTML, CSS, BootStrap, SQL. I've written apps, built websites - anything that means I'm programming. I have not once had any interest in doing volunteer work at my DCs school, or any other school.
I really want to go back to work now, so I've applied for a few jobs as software/website developer, but I never hear anything back. However, now that my CV is out there on job boards, I get regular phone calls from supply teaching agencies!! But I don't want to be a teacher! I feel like I'm being typecast as a teacher. I just don't know what to do??
On my CV, I am wondering whether to just miss out the teaching altogether, and just say I was a SAHM, and focus solely on the last 3 years of programming I've been doing? Advice from a CV writing company, was to not put dates on my qualifications (from 15 ish years ago, but very relevant), then just list all the programming things I've been doing in the last 3 years. The employers would never know that there is a 10 year gap in there. However, other advice seems to say that I should be brutally honest on my CV - list everything chronologically in the employment section, and admit I've been a SAHM?? Employers just get suspicious otherwise? The teaching is useful to have on there, to cover the "excellent communication skills" that they always ask for. There is also a computer-based job that I did straight after my Ph.D. that is also very, very relevant, and it would be a shame to miss that out. But are employers interested in work experience from over 10 years ago?

Any employers, particularly in the IT field, who would know what's best??

redskytonight Tue 26-Apr-16 16:32:04

I would suspect it is the lack of real developer experience that is proving the issue rather than the teaching. Great that you've taught yourself to program but do you have anything that is actually "live" - do you have examples of things you can demonstrate? Remember that an IT developer job is normally more than writing code - it's about understanding and working within a software development lifecycle, working to deadlines, working with others on a bigger piece of work ... do you have experience of any of these things? I wouldn't expect an IT job employer to be that interested in something you did 10 year ago either - you need to show that you are current and keeping up with modern ideas.

The trick is of course how to get the experience - is there anything you can do on a voluntary basis? Or can you get involved with OpenSource projects?

lljkk Tue 26-Apr-16 16:38:02

DH has recruited in similar area not so long ago, I will try to remember to ask him.
You seem to me like a good candidate for project management.
Yes put down the relevant work experience 10 yrs ago.
May I ask what entry level are you going for? I suspect a low level job would be easiest way for you to get foot in the door.
Can you include links to aps you've written?

VeryPunny Tue 26-Apr-16 16:38:57

Have you got anything up on GitHub? That's what I look at, first and foremost. Gives you a real insight into what someone can do.

Also Java developers not difficult to come by - do you have a particular niche you're interested in that you can use as a selling point? It might not be directly relevant to a role you're applying for but you can use it to sell your geek credentials, and how quickly you can pick up another language.

I work with developers who have come in from teaching and they happily admit to teaching on their CV. I'd mention it but not make a big thing of it.

lljkk Tue 26-Apr-16 20:52:35

DH says.... OP has great skills. Having holes in CV is very offputting, don't deny things.
Badly written CVs or just not quite the skills they want is another reason CVs get put aside.

Is your CV very long?

DitheringDiva Tue 26-Apr-16 20:57:14

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply - it's all very useful information.

redskytonight - I think you're right, and I think it is the fact that I've not worked in a developer environment. A recruitment consultant gave me some feedback, and she said it was lack of commercial experience, but then I'm in a catch 22 situation. Getting involved with an OpenSource project is something worth looking into.
lljkk - I've been going for the lowest level jobs i.e. junior graduate type jobs, but often the adverts are blatantly wanting recent graduates, even though they can't legally say that on the adverts. I've even thought about apprenticeships, but the employer wouldn't get funding for my training because I have a degree, so a no-goer. My apps are on Google playstore and the Appstore, and I always put a link in on my CV.
VeryPunny - I have a GitHub account, but never put much on there, so that's a good idea to put some of my code on there. It's also good to know that some teachers have made the move out of teaching and into development.

DitheringDiva Tue 26-Apr-16 21:09:56

Cross-posted with your 2nd post lljkk - my latest CV is 2 pages - I've been working on one today for a particularly interesting job that I tick all the boxes for, My teaching experience is on one line in the employment history section (i.e. "various teaching roles from 20xx to 20yy"), then in the skills bit there's a reference to my teaching in terms of having good communication skills. I've tried to concentrate the rest of my CV on all the programming I've been doing recently. It's good to hear your DH seems to think I have a good set of skills. I was wondering if I was being an idiot trying to pursue a career change into IT.

noblegiraffe Tue 26-Apr-16 22:44:39

My DH who hires developers says don't leave a gap or not put dates on your CV, he'll assume you are hiding something like prison and bin it.

He also says don't overplay the programming in your PhD as academic programming is notoriously ropey.

He says that linking to apps is no good as they won't actually be able to see your code, and he wants to know if you can code. Put your code online and link to it.

He would want to see evidence that you have programmed with someone else, not just on your own, so get involved in some open source projects.

He also suggests (if you haven't already) completing some online programming courses and getting the certification.

DitheringDiva Wed 27-Apr-16 08:19:52

Thank you noblegiraffe it's all useful information.

Delacroix Fri 29-Apr-16 19:38:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BeckysMediocreHair Fri 29-Apr-16 21:24:17

Where I am (Manchester) there are quite a few resources for those looking to get into coding as a career - CodeUP UK and Madlab are just two things you can google to then see if you have similar where you are. You could then consider bootcamps, which - for a fee - get you up to entry-level standard in 12-14 weeks. They're not just about learning to code, but about the problem solving, the best practise, the testing, the teamwork and all the other things that make you an attractive candidate. The one I've got my eye on also spend time preparing you for interview challenges and getting your CV in order, so there's that too.

There's a lot being said right now about people getting in at entry level without relevant degrees, just relevant experience - not necessarily in employment - and enthusiasm. Prove you can do it (which means a) provide the proof and b) be able to do it smile - and you should at least be interview-ready. And if you're lacking in some areas, there could be local code clubs who can help. Even just hanging out at a code meetup or a hackathon lets you network and chat to people who could just be that key to an interview.

Free Code Camp is a nice resource - it starts out teaching the basics of the language, syntax and so on, but then actually guides you into making projects and useful things that not only get your head around the problems, but are worthwhile for showing off your skill.

Consider getting someone in the business, if you can find someone, to help you put your CV together and identify the holes (ie: dev experience) then see if you can fill them in online - as said, Open Source stuff, Github community, making simple challenges.

And definitely don't lie. I was considering it myself but apparently it does make them think you were in prison or hiding from the law in Tahiti, or you were in jobs but got fired from them. I think there are sites out there that do help you write your CV from the perspective of someone who's changed careers, so it's not a major deal. I think the trick is your relevant stuff goes first and the teaching bit would go after.

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